4,500 years of yum

Researchers map the history of curry by analyzing chemical traces in ancient Indian pottery. Read the rest

New York Times: It's okay to like that taco made out of a giant Doritos chip

Good news for those of you who require some kind of public justification for your love of junk food. The Paper of Record has published a positive review of Taco Bell's Doritos Loco taco. Fair warning, though, food critic William Grimes advises against springing for the Supreme version, as the tomatoes are flavorless and the "sour cream is just wrong." Read the rest

TSA defends cupcake confiscation

('Shoop-Illustration: Xeni Jardin)

On the TSA blog, a defense of the recent confiscation of a cupcake at Las Vegas International airport over concerns the tasty morsel was a terrorist threat. Cory blogged about the incident on Boing Boing, and pointed to a parody song about it here. The internet loves cupcakes and hates the TSA, so predictably, this one went very viral.

The federal agency's explanation for the incident focuses on the fact that the traveler's cupcake was transported in a jar:

I wanted to make it clear that this wasn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill cupcake. If you’re not familiar with it, we have a policy directly related to the UK liquid bomb plot of 2006 called 3-1-1 that limits the amount of liquids, gels and aerosols you can bring in your carry-on luggage. Icing falls under the “gel” category. As you can see from the picture, unlike a thin layer of icing that resides on the top of most cupcakes, this cupcake had a thick layer of icing inside a jar.

In general, cakes and pies are allowed in carry-on luggage, however, the officer in this case used their discretion on whether or not to allow the newfangled modern take on a cupcake per 3-1-1 guidelines. They chose not to let it go.

Read the rest here. It all makes perfect sense now.

Update: Rebecca Hains, the woman whose cupcake-in-a-jar is the tasty center of this international terror emergency, is not impressed with the agency's response. Read the rest

Cookie recipes for Christmas or any day

This year, as a Christmas gift to my family, I scanned the pages from my Grammy's recipe folio and turned them into a spiral-bound cookbook with the help of Lulu.com. The project took several months. But, through it, I feel like I was granted some extra time with the woman who was such an important part of my life. My Grammy is in that portfolio. The binder, held together with duct tape, has been around since my Dad and uncles were in high school. She typed the pages on her old typewriter and fixed the errors with correction fluid. She wrote notes into the margins—reminders about which recipes are best, what substitutions you could make, and what the measurements should be if you want to half or double the recipe. Looking at the recipes she chose to keep around, I see her. For instance, my Grammy was the kind of woman who collected no fewer than three recipes for spinach and bacon salads. 

More seriously, the mix of recipes in this cookbook remind me that my Grammy was first, and foremost, a baker. Of the 315 pages, 106 of them are just bread recipes. If you look at all the baked goods, you've probably accounted for a good 2/3 of the cookbook. This is interesting to me, because while I love cooking, I am still at a level of baking that usually involves opening a box and adding an egg. 

So I've set myself a challenge. Over the next year, I'm going to learn how to bake. Read the rest